You know how it’s said; that the darkest part of the night signals the breaking of the dawn, or something like that. That was my story, Ijeoma’s goods was taking forever to arrive, I was fast running out of money with no hope in sight. Just when things had gotten so very bad, the dawn broke.
One day, I got the usual job alert emails from all the job boards I had subscribed on, it was the position of an admin officer in an FMCG. I applied, and wonders of wonders, they called me in for an interview, and offered me the job on the spot!
It wasn’t much, but it was something. My first job. I couldn’t believe it, I had gotten my first job!
What made me even happier was that I had gotten the job on my own merit. Without having to know anybody, which y’all will agree with me was fast becoming a rarity in our world today.
So, because I didn’t have a previous job which I needed to give notice at, I resumed almost immediately. It was exciting for me. New job, having to see new faces, interact with adults all day, lol (my day had been occupied with Daniel and Ada, I was so happy to rejoin the ‘grown-up’ world.
The day I resumed at work, Daniel and Ada were as excited as I was, if not more excited. Lovely kids, God bless them. My kids were a delight, my rock through the recent storm. Daniel was my checklist, he reminded me of every single detail I needed to have covered. Ada was just happily cooing. She could easily tell by her expressions whether she was pleased with a thing or not, and I could tell she was pleased. I left for work at the same time they left for school, their school bus drove off just before I did. Thank God for Ken’s car, that afforded me mobility.
In no time, I was settled into my job. It came with good benefits. I was starting at the bottom but I didn’t let that deter me, I was going to do my best, make myself indispensable, lol.
Ijeoma’s goods finally came in. She had some good stuff and thankfully, I now had a wider range of clients, I sold the goods, and got her money back to her. Things were truly looking up such that by the time our house rent was due, I almost had it all saved up.
The long holiday came around, and my mother-in-law said she wanted to visit. She said she missed us (read the kids). Ofcourse I was uncomfortable with this visit. My mother-in-law was ok, on the mother-monster-in-law scale, lol, but……..
Firstly; my kids and I were just ‘managing’; it was just us and our maid; Amaka. We could eat anything, ‘go without’ as needed, but if she came over we would need to cater for her specially a-la-mother-in-law style. Also, thank God my job was on the mainland, so I got to come home earlier than most working class people, but I was conscious of the fact that the kids spent some time alone with our maid, I didn’t want her coming over and criticizing my parenting style or standard of living. And finally, when she was leaving, won’t I be required to at least pay for their transport if not give them some extra money. Money which I didn’t have, I was just managing to get by and didn’t need any additional burdens.
On the flip side; maybe she should come. She should come and see our current standard of living; some of it was thanks to her son. Him dying on us, and having to share his entitlements with his second family. Anyways; she should come. If she doesn’t like our standard of living, up to her. Besides, my family was in support of her visit. My mom said it won’t do to severe the bond between the families
She came. My mother-in-law came to visit us with two kids in tow. A boy and girl. And one look at them and I knew they were Ken’s from the other Lady.
How could she? Like really, how could she? What was the point? Bringing those kids to my house? They got to my house before I did, I got home to see all four kids playing in the living room. My kids; God bless them, welcomed them innocently without knowing who they were. Really if they did, what difference would it make?
“What’s the meaning of this?” I asked my mother-in-law without preamble. I had smiled at the kids, not betraying my boiling anger; but no; dearest mother-in-law, the architect of this whole mess wasn’t going to escape my anger.
“Miriam, my dear, you see, I thought….”
“You thought what?” I interrupted her ramblings. I tried to control myself. Tried to do the deep breathing thingy. Like seriously why would this woman tempt me like this?
“For the sake of Kenechukwu. Kenechukwu of blessed memory. Biko nwam, for the sake of the children. ” Her voice broke.
Who cares, she shouldn’t come with any theatrics. She lost a son, I lost a husband! Gini? She wasn’t getting out of this one with tears o. I waited for her to continue, she had to explain herself, and I doubt if there was anything she could say to make this acceptable.
“It will be good for them to know each other. They are one blood.” She clasped her hands together to show oneness. “Their father is gone, I don’t want them growing up not knowing each other, and perhaps growing to be enemies. It is for your own good. Let them spend a week here, bond as children, without any cares in the world. Look at them.” She opened the door a crack. Playing together. Blood is thicker than water. Biko nwam Let us help them bond now that they are young and innocent, so we won’t have problems of them growing to dislike each other in future. Biko.” She made to kneel.
I pulled her up and began pacing. How does this whole thing make sense to her? Where was she when Ken took the other lady for a wife? Ken had set-up a new family without my knowledge under the guise of visiting them and they hadn’t raised eyebrows. When Ken had been alive they were content for both families to be apart, now he was gone and they suddenly wanted a united family. No, they could spare me all that. I wasn’t interested.
“Mama,” I said slowly. “The respect I have for you, is what’s keeping me from asking you to leave my house tonight. But tomorrow is soon enough. First thing in the morning, you and those children are leaving my house.” I walked out on her and left her gazing open-mouthed at me.